Ground Chuck: New blog, new articles, but graphics don’t fit

As promised, Ground Chuck is now live.

This blog, which aims to cover matters of the Lowcountry, starts off with a pair of articles:

Check ’em out.

A footnote: Obviously, the blog is new. I’m using default WordPress graphics for the moment, and the cover photo does not look anything like Charleston. Not even close. Even if I took a grease pencil and drew some Spanish moss in the trees, it still won’t look like Charleston.

Just bear with me.



Why does spring so totally rock down South?

Always a part of spring.

No comment necessary on my part. Just enjoy the view.

Proof positive that, to misquote Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), there are two kinds of people in this world: Those that are from ’round here, and those who wish they were.

Cool, shady ... doesn't get much better.
Check out the Spanish moss, but you'll need to slow down for it.
As seen on the Trident Technical College campus, North Charleston SC.

... and just a few feet away ...

While thinking about spring …

These started cropping up on median strips around Charleston this week. I’m not sure what they are; they may really be some sort of weed for all I know.
But a couple of things about this weed:
  • I’ve never seen them grow anywhere else but in South Carolina. I’ve seen them in the Lowcountry and upstate, but oddly, not on the other side of the North Carolina line.
  • They come out in the early spring, and are as much an indicator of the season as the dogwood, as the Bradford pear, as the pedestrian walking around in an intoxicated we-survived-winter-and-the-world’s-all-right state.
  • Plus, they hold their color for only a short time. Then they become true weeds; thrown into the fire and burned.
But the colors are very pretty. Weeds never looked this good.

Is it spring yet?

These Bradford Pear trees, popular in the South as an ornamental street tree, are usually among the first things to bloom out here. While temperatures are supposed to drop again this week, Charleston boasted springlike weather over the weekend with 80-degree days. This photo was shot Sunday morning off Rivers Avenue in North Charleston.

Don’t just do something, sit there: America’s laziest states

(He’s not sleeping; he’s hard at work inspecting his eyelids. Photo by Getty Images.)

Call it laziness or just smelling the roses a little bit, but taking it easy is an art form in some areas. Here’s an interesting study on the subject by Business Week:

America’s Laziest States 2010: More Sitting, Less Doing – BusinessWeek

The 10 most sedentary states are:
1) Louisiana
2) Mississippi
3) Arkansas
4) North Carolina
5) Tennessee
6) Kentucky
7) West Virginia
8) South Carolina
9) Alabama
10) Delaware
Of those 10, eight are in the Solid South while border-state Kentucky counts as a ninth in some circles. But dipping into the next rank of 10 you find the Northeast fairly well represented, a few Midwestern states, and one — Arizona — west of the Rockies.
Surprisingly, New York ranked 11th. A surprise because you’d think of all those get-‘er-done ADHD types in The City. I guess those slackers upstate pulled the rankings right down.
South Carolina, the place I call home, ranks #8, Here’s what Business Week says:
South Carolinians watch more television than all other Americans, according to BLS data. A report by the South Carolina Health & Environmental Control Dept. shows about half of adults do not get the recommended amount of physical activity, only one-third have sidewalks in their neighborhood, and only 37.4 percent use walking trails, parks, playgrounds, and sports fields for physical activity.

We’re not lazy. We just know how to relax.
According to the stats from various sources, folks in Mississippi sleep the most at 8 hours, 59 minutes per day. That state also has the highest obesity rate at 33.8 percent. South Carolinians watch the most TV at 3 hours, 7 minutes per day, while Louisianans do less actual work at 2 hours, 41 minutes per day.
This working-per-day is an interesting figure, and it comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the average for everyone aged 15 and older, and doesn’t really take unemployment rates into consideration. Still, that’s a lot of screwing off. By contrast, South Carolinians work a relatively industrious (!) 3 hours, 26 minutes per day.
Strangely enough, age isn’t as much a factor as you’d think. Maine, the state with the oldest residents (median age 41.5 years) placed 16th, while Florida (40.1 years) came in 16th.
I’m surprised California didn’t make the list … oh, they said “laziest,” not “craziest.”
Never mind.

Sullivan’s Island moves to ban singing, whistling, and the like on public streets

I’m pretty sure these laws are not written by someone who is from around here. There’s no way. 

From the Digitel:

Sullivan’s Island moves to ban singing, whistling, and the like on public streets (update: CNN picks up): “Update, June 23: What was that? The sound of a national network picking up the local News 2 report? Yes, it is. Check out the video on CNN.First reporting: Yes, it seems very silly, but they’re copying the wording of a North Charleston ordinance already…”

I wrote about this some time ago, when Charleston approved an anti-smoking law (modeled after similar ones in New York City and the People’s Republic of California):

… the smoking law came from elsewhere … like it or not, Charleston is a town of transplants. A destination town. A lot of expatriate New Yorkers, people from Ohio looking for a warm place to sit, and a bunch of escapees from Atlanta’s rat race. Mostly east coast people, though. I was once considered an oddity because of my California roots (although that’s considered to be plenty odd anywhere). Now, there’s a bunch more like me. Maybe I should apologize for kicking that door open; everybody wants to be the last person to move to a new area … write this down. People who move to another area tend to want a couple of things: First, they’re seeking a new life. And, once that’s achieved (or not), they seek to make that new town Just Like Home …  

Rick Huff, the late Bard of Folly Beach, wrote a song called “Come On Down,” an open invitation for anyone to visit this area just so long as they remember to pack their manners. In his song he decried those folks who move in, feel the need to change things, and “get themselves appointed to Decidedly Ridiculous Boards:” 

Come on down.

You can tell us how to run our little town;

Yeah, come on down. 

Don’t know how we made it this far without you around …

Couldn’t say that much better myself.


Haley, Scott make history with nominations in S.C. runoffs

Allegations of an extramarital affair didn’t seem to hurt gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, as she easily beat Gresham Barrett for the Republican nomination for South Carolina Governor.
Meanwhile, Tim Scott beat out a “name” contender in his push to become the first black Republican to serve in Congress since Oklahoma’s J.C. Watts left office in 2003.
Few knew who Haley was six months ago, and one month ago political blogger Will Folks claimed he had something going on with the candidate. But Haley easily won the nomination Tuesday, with 63 percent of the vote at last count. Her opponent in November is Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen. If she wins, she becomes the state’s first female governor.
Haley had some strong endorsements in the bag during her run for Governor, with Sarah Palin and current South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford — who knows something about cheating spouses — throwing their support behind her.
Scott, considered a long shot several months ago, beat Paul Thurmond — son of Palmetto State legend Strom Thurmond — for the nomination. He faces Democrat Ben Frasier in the general election.

Getting a handle on Alvin Greene

So who is this Alvin Greene character, and why is he an actual nominee for a U.A. Senate seat from South Carolina?

It’s still a mystery. But he will run against Jim DeMint this year. That noise you hear is the sound of Democrats circling the wagons.

Understand, Demint is probably near the top of the Dems’ take-em-out list. DeMint shows strong conservative chops, and he’s become a favorite of red-state folks everywhere. He was considered vulnerable until last week’s primary. 

Greene won the primary with slightly less than 60 percent of the vote, beating out former judge and legislator Vic Rawl in the process. No one is real sure why; Greene has no money. He has no name recognition. He has no job. He’s a former military guy who was “involuntarily discharged” from the service six months before his hitch was to end. He faces obscenity charges; something about allegedly showing pornographic pictures to a college girl. None of this stuff came out until after the primaries.

And if you listen to this guy talk, well, you know he’s out of his league. He can barely string a coherent thought together. First few sound clips I heard of him, I thought, man, that’s some pretty strong medication he’s on.

In the days following the primary election,  Rob Groce of The Examiner visited Greene at his Manning home in an attempt to get a handle on this guy. Groce, a rock-solid Democrat who was chosen as national delegate from his home district in 2008, came away with an uneasy feeling:

Meeting Alvin Greene

That eerie feeling of being stuck in a still shot from “The Last Picture Show” came upon me once again as I turned my head to look around.When I later saw the photos, I noticed that Greene’s appearance and expression seems unchanged in each one. Frozen. Blank. Distant.Lost.Before I walked into Greene’s home, I was still incensed from the dreadful results of the primary election.When I walked out, though, I felt despondent, and not because of the election results that somehow got him the nomination. I felt so sad because it was obvious that Greene … well … isn’t quite all there. In my layman’s opinion, and which might not mean much to some, I think there may be some medical reason.And I don’t think he was always like this, either. After all, media confirmed that he majored in political science at the Univ. of South Carolina, graduating in 2000. In the military, he worked in intelligence. But he wound being involuntarily discharged from service six months early, and while in a much lower role than his first field of military intelligence.That could indicate that something happened to Greene. An injury, maybe? A medical problem that’s affected his behavior and response? PTSD? I’ll never know the cause, I guess. And don’t really care to know, since it’s none of my business to begin with.As a voting citizen of South Carolina, though, the elections here are my business. And Alvin Greene is clearly unable to hold office …  

I don’t think this Greene drama is over yet. Rawl is challenging the results, and filed a formal protest earlier this week. The national media is laughing — again — at South Carolina, and voters in the Palmetto State are just plain bumfuddled. 

Although he is the party’s nominee, Greene’s probably not going to count on getting a lot of support from there. According to House Majority Whip James Clyburn:

No, I don’t see myself getting behind Mr. Greene. The fact of the matter is, of course, I never said he was a Republican plant. I said he was someone’s plant. And it turned up after the elections, we found out, as I said earlier, something untoward was going on … now all of a sudden, we see that Congressman Joe Wilson — his campaign manager, was, in fact, managing the campaign of my primary opponent. I saw the patterns in this. I know a Democratic pattern, I know a Republican pattern, and I saw in the Democratic primary elephant dung all over the place … and so I knew something was wrong in that primary. And this result tells us that. People intentionally circumvented the law, the rules and regulations, did not file any disclosures, did not file any of their campaign finances, yet they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars running this campaign and broke every law.

Don’t you just love politics? Isn’t it better than daytime TV?


Mystery Senate nominee Alvin Greene swears he’s serious; few agree

Just when you thought a little sanity had finally entered South Carolina politics, well, forget it!

Welcome to the political world, South Carolina style.

On Tuesday, some guy named Alvin Greene won the Democratic primary for United States Senate, to go against conservative Jim Demint.

Alvin who?

That’s what the Democrats are wondering. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn called for an investigation into the campaign. Party leaders are calling for Greene to step aside and let a real candidate run. Some party officials have even questioned his mental state. Greene, however, is saying he’ll continue his run.

It’s pretty obvious that South Carolina Democrats had a mass rectal-cranial inversion when they went to the voting booths this time around. 

By all accounts the 32-year-old Greene is an unemployed veteran, and no one is sure where he was able to pony up the $10,400 filing fee.

On top of that, Greene was arrested last November for felony obscenity, which he chooses not to comment on. But none of this stuff came up until after his nomination.

He beat out former legislator Victor Rawl for the nomination, with 59 percent of the vote. Besides his background, Rawl has a campaign war chest of $186,000 while Greene doesn’t have a pot to pee in.

“60 percent (of the vote) is not luck,” Greene told MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann. “It’s a decisive win.”

Interesting, considering he really didn’t campaign. No one knew who he was. There was no indication he did any traveling. there is an “unofficial” website for him, which he says is not an authoritative campaign site. There was also a Twitter account for him, but he said that was not his either. It has since been taken down; a wise move considering he has far fewer followers than even my modest 635.

And Democrats are saying Greene is nothing but a Republican plant, a tomato can set up to run against top target DeMint. But Greene says that isn’t so.

“I have always been a Democrat, and I will always be a Democrat.”

His chief campaign pitch is the need for jobs. That’s a natural one for Greene, as he also needs a job.

You absolutely must check out this interview with Olbermann. It’s a real hoot. Folks on Twitter are calling it “the most WTF interview ever” (I’m not gonna explain what that means). Greene sounds out of it, uncomfortable, inarticulate in the interview, even with Olbermann’s softball questions.

According to Mother Jones Magazine, Greene is on intimate terms with these WTF moments:

“Greene insists that he paid the $10,400 filing fee and all other campaign expenses from his own personal funds. ‘It was 100 percent out of my pocket. I’m self-managed. It’s hard work, and just getting my message to supporters. I funded my campaign 100 percent out of my pocket and self-managed,’ said Greene, who sounded anxious and unprepared to speak to the public. But despite his lack of election funds, Greene claims to have criss-crossed the state during his campaign—though he declined to specify any of the towns or places he visited or say how much money he spent while on the road. ‘It wasn’t much, I mean, just, it was—it wasn’t much. Not much, I mean, it wasn’t much, he said, when asked how much of his own money he spent in the primary. Greene frequently spoke in rapid-fire, fragmentary sentences, repeating certain phrases or interrupting himself multiple times during the same sentence while he searched for the right words. But he was emphatic about certain aspects of his candidacy, insisting that details about his campaign organization, for instance, weren’t relevant. ‘I’m not concentrating on how I was elected — it’s history. I’m the Democratic nominee — we need to get talking about America back to work, what’s going on, in America.’ 

Has anybody figured out what he said yet? If so, please email me a translation.

Imagine how he’d do in a real debate, or in a conversation with a real reporter, providing there are any of those left. He’d be chopped up into cat food.

Not that this seems to make any difference with South Carolina Democrats. They voted for a name and a face, with no other information.

Shoot, if voters are that stupid, they deserve whatever candidate they get.

Meanwhile, it looks like it’s gonna be fun times in good ol’ South Kackilacky this November.


S.C. mulls Arizona-like immigration measure

Fasten your seat belts. This is gonna be a bumpy ride.

From The State, Columbia SC:

S.C. mulls Arizona-like immigration measure

A state Senate subcommittee meets this morning to discuss a bill that would empower local police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or detain.However, it’s too late in the legislative session for the bill, which mimics Arizona’s controversial law, to become state law this year. That leads critics and political watchers to believe today’s meeting is more about political theater than creating a new law.“By doing it when they don’t actually have time to pass the legislation, they get credit for the symbolic stand without having to worry about how to fund the measure,” said Scott Huffman, a Winthrop University political science professor.However, Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, who will lead this morning’s meeting, said that is not the case. None of the five members of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee are up for re-election, he said …

About time someone got some sense in the state house.

OK. Here’s the deal. We have a lot of illegals in South Carolina. It’s not like in Arizona or The People’s Republic of California, but we’ve got plenty. Enough in my neighborhood that, when I wear my Border Patrol t-shirt around the mobile home park, everybody scatters. 

The folks who say how terrible Arizona’s law is, well, they just don’t get it. At the risk of repeating myself, there’s a reason these cats are called “illegal aliens,” and the operative word here is “illegal.” Got that? 

At bottom, we are a nation of laws. That’s the only way we can get an even halfway just society around here.